Awards Blog

Empowering ESOL Excellence through Technology

By Deborah Millar, Executive Director of Digital Transformation, Hull College

In the dynamic realm of Further Education (FE), we at Hull College have experienced firsthand the power of technology to transform teaching and learning. Our pioneering use of Microsoft Translate has dismantled language barriers, notably enhancing our ESOL program. This initiative aligns with our dedication to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and has also garnered the prestigious ALT ‘Ethical Use of Edtech’ award last year.

ALT Awards 2023

Our experience is a testament to the transformation that technology can foster. Located in the City of Sanctuary, we face unique challenges and opportunities in supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Integrating tools like PowerPoint Live, Immersive Reader, and MS Translate has significantly boosted ESOL attendance from 65% to 91.5% and achievement rates from 77% to 90%. Beyond numbers, we’ve changed lives—enabling better job performance and facilitating social and professional integration. Our efforts have saved over £50,000 in administrative costs, showcasing the dual benefit of technological adoption in education.

“When the teacher used technology in the classroom, I couldn’t believe it. There were 10 of us with different backgrounds and languages, and we could all understand her. I had used technology sparingly before I came to the UK, but this has helped me make friends and settle in. I was alone, and now I’m not!”

The ALT Awards are highly regarded as a symbol of success and excellence. They provide a platform to recognise these achievements and share our strategies widely across the sector. The introduction of the new ALT Award for the use of Technology in Vocational Education, in collaboration with Ufi VocTech Trust for 2024, further emphasises the increasing significance of edtech across various educational fields. This is an excellent opportunity for institutions that specialise in vocational training to showcase their innovative approaches.

We encourage fellow institutions to consider entering the ALT Awards. Whether it’s showcasing groundbreaking projects or learning from peers, the benefits of participation are vast. Each entry not only stands to win but serves as a lighthouse of innovative practice that can inspire and guide the whole sector.

Our Tips for Writing a Successful ALT Submission:

  1. Use the ALT Awards Guidance and Framework to ensure your submission meets the judging criteria.
  2. Show how your project breaks new ground in educational practice.
  3. Provide compelling statistics and testimonials that speak to the tangible benefits of your initiative.
  4. Show that your project is replicable, increasing its appeal and potential impact across the sector.
  5. Prove how your project advances inclusivity, aligning with the core values of modern education.

Join us in celebrating and advancing the integration of technology in education. The ALT Awards are not just a competition but a celebration of innovation that is enriching the lives of learners nationwide. Let’s Continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible and inspire each other towards new heights of achievement.

We are now open for entries until Tuesday 11 June 2024, and we welcome submissions from individuals and teams based anywhere in the world. The awards are free to enter. Learn More.

The ALT Awards celebrate and reward excellent research and practice and outstanding achievement in Learning Technology. Established in 2007, the Awards have set a benchmark for outstanding achievement in Learning Technology on a national scale and attract competitive entries from the UK and internationally. All entries are reviewed by an independent judging panel chaired by the President of ALT.  

1 Comment

  • Bret Bernhoft says:

    This blog article inspires me to reaffirm my own commitment to spreading the positive values that technology inherently brings with it, when implemented properly and for the right reasons. It is amazing to see how your achievement rates improved when you relied on the correct tools. As well as the money that you saved in the process. Congratulations for the recognition of your hard work.

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